Tag Archives: social networking

An Apple a Day Might Keep the Doctor Away – if Steve Jobs was in healthcare…

I just got to Rochester, Minnesota for the Mayo Clinic Social Media Summit. I anxiously await the next 2 days for an exciting lineup on using social media in healthcare.

There’s a great Veterans Administration contingent here. Tonight I’m here with @chipharman, @RachelECondy, @erinhynes, @DawnellRDorio, @Hi2molly (Molly Manion), @Tweet16C (Diane Bedecarre). We’re enjoying wine and refreshments, spirited discussion and group energy.

We were talking about how organizations need to take advantage of employees’ creativity and passion (hello!!)…and I mentioned how inspiring it was to hear the 1996 interview NPR’s Terry Gross did with Steve Jobs (re-played the day after his death). Many great things have been written about him the past few weeks, but I find his words the most glorious. In this interview, Jobs talked about 2 ingredients he found essential to success: (1) “watering” clever employees to drive innovation, and (2) bringing ART to the science of technology.

GROSS: I wonder if there are any lessons you learned about what worked and didn’t work in the corporate lifestyle at Apple that you’ve applied to your current companies, NeXT and Pixar.

JOBS: Apple was a very bottoms-up company when it came to a lot of its great ideas. And we hired, you know, truly great people and gave them the room to do great work. A lot of companies – I know it sounds crazy – but a lot of companies don’t do that. They hire people to tell them what to do. We hired people to tell us what to do. And that led to a very different corporate culture, and one that’s really much more collegial than hierarchical.

GROSS: What do you think the state of the computer would be if it weren’t for Apple? This is a chance, I guess, for a really self-serving answer. But, I mean, I’m really curious what you think.

JOBS: I think our major contribution was in bringing a liberal arts point of view to the use of computers. If you really look at the ease of use of the Macintosh, the driving motivation behind that was to bring not only ease of use to people – so that many, many more people could use computers for nontraditional things at that time – but it was to bring, you know, beautiful fonts and typography to people, it was to bring graphics to people, not for, you know, plotting laminar flow calculations, but so that they could see beautiful, you know, photographs, or pictures, or artwork, et cetera, to help them communicate what they were doing potentially.

Our goal was to bring a liberal arts perspective and a liberal arts audience to what had traditionally been, you know, a very geeky technology and a very geeky audience.


Now I keep thinking: What If Steve Jobs was in healthcare? He would have taken Health 2.0 ideas, blended them with the best innovators and added a high level of ART and user design. It would have conjured up something we probably haven’t seen – YET, like —

1. Easy ways for patients to enter stories into the health record (written, audio, video).
2. New built environments (UNwaiting rooms) that SHOW people patient-facing health technology.
3. Full sharing of the electronic record – on any device, anywhere.
4. Specialist visits on the T.V. (or device du jour) for self-care, triage and treatment.
5. Incentives (lower premiums) just for using health technology, including peer support.
6. Getting tailored information, like where to find care virtual/in-person and cheapest medications.
7. New community places…where health, work, education, energy & financial support ALL converge.

Double Sigh. I definitely think an Apple a Day would have kept the doctor at bay.

CaringBridge – a profound way to connect at a time when connection is needed.

I’ve had a hiatus in posts, because I needed to connect with those around me. I lost 2 girlfriends this month.

One friend was a close colleague. We completed a post-doc informatics fellowship together at OHSU. I loved running into her – she was the most upbeat person I knew. She battled breast cancer before age 30, only to have it return before 40. Even when things were going in the wrong direction, she always asked ‘how are you doing, and what are you up to?’, always inquiring about someone else.

The other was one of my dearest friends of 20 years. She was diagnosed not that long ago with scleroderma, a brutal and progressive connective tissue disorder. I adored this woman for her passion about everything, and our ability to talk to one another until exhaustion. She stayed brave and hopeful right up until the moment she just couldn’t.

Along their journeys, I observed things I already knew. Scientific data locked up in hard-to-find places. Poorly coordinated care. Doctors who say and behave differently from one another. Lack of patient and family communiation. Non-physicians who have a big impact, yet with under-recognized skills and services brought too late. Patients wanting to find one another, but finding it way too hard while trying to get through the day. Lots of specialists (across the country), yet no one playing the critical role of a “medical home” – to address small a big issues, advocate for services, or be able to get “just in time” information as soon as it was needed by the family and caregivers.

Fortunately, friends and family members were able to connect using social networking. CaringBridge pages were created for both. This online tool is powerful and purposeful, allowing care givers to help and others to share and communicate. Like hospice and palliative care, these services can arrive too late and have a short timespan. Yet having this connection, even briefly, is better than not having them at all.

So I take stock in all that is precious around me. I remain committed to consumer and patient and caregiver empowerment, to medical professionals sharing all health data, to transforming care so that everyone has the information they need and want — in real time.

And to have these social networking connection tools as commonplace as flu shots.

To Heather, mom, wife, dentist with innovative insight.
To Melanie, mom, wife, journalist with soaring heart and passion.

Imagine John Lennon as a Health 2.0 User

Just back from the biggest and best Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco. My brain’s on overdrive from all the demos and presentations. I’d like to wave a magic wand, and *POOF* everything would be mainstream in healthcare. Sigh.

I’m ready for the future now, although am nostalgic today. It’s John Lennon’s birthday. He would be 70. A child of the 60’s, I like to imagine the world with more music about peace, and well, more peace.

You say you want a Health 2.0 revolution? What would Lennon think if he watched the emergence of Health 2.0?

Come together (the title of this artwork), he would say. Get people and experts and all the health information connected. He’d also say: find Health 2.0’s soul. Make it personal, make it emotional, make it about peoples’ lives and what they care about.

Find Health 2.0’s soul, Lennon would say. Experts and information that’s personal and emotional, about what people care about..

Of all I heard in San Francisco, these were the messages that struck a chord for me. As one speaker said, “when we crack the consumer engagement piece, we’ll get somewhere”. Here are some bright spots that made emotional connections with me – and are likely to help drive engagement…

The winner of the engagement contest didn’t compete in the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge. Regina Holliday, a fabulous artist and advocate for record access, proves the importance of emotional connections. She was in the back of the room for 2 days, painting. Her prior painting tells the stirring story of her husband’s illness and challenges of getting their health information. I’d like to get her in front of every person who works at the VA and share that story.

The session Behavior Change, Health 2.0 & The Unmentionables was excellent, striking that emotional chord. Alexandra Drane of Eliza talked about how it’s not about technology or information, it’s about issues important to people’s lives. Speaking of key issues, Qpid.me wants confidential sharing of test results – STD and HIV – at really key, real-time moments.

I loved hearing about Jeff Livingston, an OB/Gyn using social networking to PULL teens and young women in for sensitive conversations about their health and care. There is a lovely paradox I’ve written about before, where electronic communication can be more personal and sensitive for the patient. I expect to great stuff coming from MIT’s New Media Medicine lab. Their CollaboRhythm project has dynamic and appealing interfaces for connecting patients and providers.

Come together. Make an emotional connection, related to my life. Mainstream. Imagine.